Saturday Night Special: The State Of Silencers In America

The discussion regarding the deregulation of silencers (suppressors if you insist on using the more politically correct term) has traveled quite the roller coaster path in the last few months. Staying as clear from partisan politics as possible, the election result was a surprise to most on each side. In the end, gun rights proponents had a blast of exuberance with an NRA-endorsed President Elect. Part of that excitement included hope for the newest iteration of the Hearing Protection Act (HPA) which would remove silencers from the National Firearms Act regulations.

However, along with riding the wave of positivity came some irrational thought processes. Getting a bill signed into law is a long, hard fought process that takes months if not years of work, lobbying and constituent support. And that goes double for a bill that is controversial enough to take on the deregulation of certain firearms. (We’ve talked about how these metal tubes known as silencers are actually classified as firearms in the United States, right?).

I say silencers are controversial because the majority of the American population believes that suppressors are specifically used by spies, gangsters or crazed hitmen. This stems mostly from Hollywood “pew pew” depictions of suppressed firearms.

Shootout Scene – With Silencers – Assault on precinct 13:

Silencers

The full scene.  WARNING: It’s graphic. (Thanks EB)

From November 2016 through February 2017, something happened among a small but vocal part of the gun community. With a pro-gun president in the White House and an ultra-pro gun President’s son at his side, firearms enthusiasts made some incorrect assumptions. The first being that positive firearm legislation would be a top priority of the administration. And the other being that bills like the HPA would somehow be fast tracked into law.

Again, steering away from any ‘D’ vs ‘R’ arguments, no matter what side you are on, pro-gun laws are not a huge priority at the moment. And hoping a bill like the HPA would be signed into law In days and not months or longer is inconsistent with almost all past experiences.

But, this ‘irrational exuberance’ about the timelines for silencer deregulation didn’t just come from gun owners. A leaked ATF white paper in early February helped to fan the flames that the HPA becoming law as a sure thing:

While DOJ and ATF have historically not supported removal of items from the NFA, the change in public acceptance of silencers arguably indicates that the reason for their inclusion in the NFA is archaic and historical reluctance to removing them from the NFA should be reevaluated.

Heck, even I got excited about that statement. That’s the first positive sentiment from a government official I’ve seen towards silencer deregulation in, well, forever. But, it is important to remember that his was the thoughts of one person, not an agency or an administration. In fact, a few weeks later, the ATF informed Dead Air Silencers that the single rubber wipe used in their Ghost M pistol can was a silencer part and replacements could no longer be sold over the counter. May I remind you that under federal law any individual silencer parts are actually silencers and that silencers are actually firearms even though they are not capable of firing any type of ammunition.

“So what, it’s great that everyone has a positive outlook on the HPA”. Sure, being positive is awesome, however when firearms consumers start basing their actions on virtual hopes and dreams, the industry itself (and the individuals who support it) is going to suffer. A few weeks ago I had the chance to speak with Evan Green, one of the owners of Griffin Armament, a Wisconsin based silencer and firearms manufacturer. Green had just laid off 30% of his employees based on decreased orders for his products. He places the blame squarely on the belief by some buyers that the HPA will quickly pass in to law.

Annoyed by paperwork and the added $200 tax, some of those interested in purchasing suppressors have decided to wait for deregulation. The folly of this stance is that it hinges upon the fact that the HPA becoming law is a done deal, which is obviously not the case. It also places manufacturers, distributors and dealers under the gun because decreased revenue from those waiting on the sidelines means less money for research and design, stagnating technological advances.

Griffin isn’t the only manufacturer who has been forced to layoff employees. Just two weeks after the 2017 SHOT Show, Utahbased SilencerCo released an unknown number of employees apparently because of reduced revenue projections. The company has not commented publicly on the layoffs, leaving only conjecture on the reasons as well as the circumstances leading up to the reduction. But the ‘HPA factor’ most likely had some role in their business decisions.

 

I also had the opportunity to speak to Owen Miller, Director of Outreach for The American Suppressor Association (ASA) about the recent events within the industry as well as consumer confidence. Miller acknowledges that some buyers may be waiting for the HPA to become law before buying more (or any) suppressors. Like many in the industry, Miller says we are also seeing the after effects of ATF 41F, a rule that was finally implemented on July 13, 2016, requiring every NFA applicant, including entities like trusts, to submit fingerprints, photographs and undergo a background check prior to receiving transfer or making approvals.

In a race to file NFA paperwork by the July deadline, the industry underwent an boom in sales and revenue. After the new rules went into effect, however, new purchases slowed to a trickle. In fact, one source of information revealed that the number of ATF transfers initiated in the month prior to the July 13th deadline is equal to all the number of forms submitted in the last eight months combined.

The ASA has come under fire as of late because of implications that they had projected the HPA as a done deal, leaving some consumers to wait for a hassle free/tax free silencer purchase. Miller explained that the ASA did not advertise the passage of the HPA within the first 100 days of the new administration. He did say that the organization is in a difficult spot: they need to be optimistic and upbeat to generate interest and motivate individuals to take action, without generating unrealistic expectations that have an impact on present day business.

Casting doubts on the ASA’s effectiveness, pointed negative statements made in an anonymous letter sent to and posted at ModernRifleman.net started to twist the HPA’s outlook:

The ASA has acted irresponsibly against the interest of its donors and the consumers by giving the non-informed consumer public false hope of early passing of the bill, which at the present time is not even remotely likely to pass. This misinformation to the general public has been a very destructive force in the suppressor industry causing many if not all companies to disrupt American families who depended on them due to industry wide lay-offs. Quality and innovation, which bring products to market that consumers want to buy are in peril due to massive industry setbacks caused by the irresponsibility of the ASA.

There was also a rumored (but not confirmed) “contentious” ASA Board of Directors meeting at this year’s SHOT Show. Eventually the ASA issued a statement. The full letter can be found here.

And while the stagnation in ATF submissions will surely (hopefully) drop wait times down to a trickle, everyone from manufactures all the way down to consumers will suffer in terms of product availability and advancement. Couple the post 41F dip with the HPA “fast track” inaccuracies and we arrive to where we are right now: Not exactly doom and gloom, but definitely a forecast for cloudy weather.


Tom Bowers of iconic silencer manufacturer Bowers Group is someone I turn to when I’m looking for an honest take on the happenings within the suppressor industry. I spent a few hours on the phone with Bowers and his partner Dorothy talking a bit about the past, present and future state of affairs of the firearms muffler business. Together they believe most of what we are all experiencing is sluggishness from the 41F fallout. And yes, the HPA, to a lesser degree, is effecting sales.

However, Bowers’ main concern revolves around the eventual removal of silencers out from under the NFA. Obviously he is in favor of full deregulation, but is concerned about some states laws after silencers are no longer seen as Title II firearms. Many states rely on laws that prevent prosecution for the possession of NFA items based on providing proof of federal registration. In essence, the potential for months of legal quagmire exists if by some magical chance the HPA passes as written.

I use the term “magical” alongside the passage of the HPA for good reason. A independent study done by legislative consultants suggests that the HPA has a less than 1% chance of passage. As sad as that outlook is, it’s a fact that silencer buyers as well as potential customers should come to embrace.

That’s not to say that we should give up. If you want the HPA to become law, you should have already called, written and emailed your legislators by now. And we should all continue to do so – simply signing an online petition will do nothing to further our cause.

However, for the foreseeable future, we should all get comfortable with paying our tax, submitting our forms and waiting (painfully) for approval. If you are a first time buyer, I can assure you the wait for your initial stamp is the worst – It does get better.

Although adding a suppressor to your guns does have some small downsides, it really is a game changer for recreational shooters, hunters, tactical operations and home defense. Yes, sometimes you still have to wear hearing protection, but the negatives are far outweighed by the increases in your enjoyment of shooting and the enjoyment of those around you. Having the ability to engaged in a normal conversation with your friends/family while plinking at the range is a good motivator.

As for the future, I really have no idea where we are going from here. And anybody who tells you they know exactly how this will all play out is misinformed or they are lying. I like to remind people in my reviews that I am neither an expert in everything silencer-related nor am I an “industry insider”. I’m just a guy who loves to shoot quietly and listens to both industry leaders and consumers when they are willing to talk.

My suggestion is to proceed forward on the assumption that the Hearing Protection Act will not pass anytime soon. Actually, be pleasantly surprised if it ever does pass. Write and call your congressman. And if there is a suppressor that you are interested in buying, don’t wait. The transfer process is simple and worth it for the pure joy that comes from suppressed shooting.



Pete

LE – Science – OSINT.
On a mission to make all of my guns as quiet as possible.
Pete.M@staff.thefirearmblog.com
Twitter: @gunboxready
Instagram: @tfb_pete
https://www.instagram.com/tfb_pete/


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  • clampdown

    Not gonna lie, I didn’t get past that suppressed PPK. ?

    • Tassiebush

      I’ve heard that when someone spends time with a silenced PPK it just sounds like a wrist watch rattling…

      • iksnilol

        Can confirm it’s louder than my watch rattling. Then again, it was indoors.

        • Sam Ruez

          You shot your silencer indoors?? Wow!

          • iksnilol

            What’s wow about that? It was an indoor range, and it wasn’t my PPK. Was from a fellow club member.

          • L Cavendish

            that would be the MOST appropriate place…

        • Tassiebush

          Eew gross! Too much information dude!

          • iksnilol

            It was an indoor shooting range, a buddy brought a PPK.

            Get yer mind outta the gutter, son. It’s only acceptable to think like that about James R.

          • Tassiebush

            Mate different strokes (oh phrasing) for different folks. You’ve got James but I think that way about the suppressed PPK! Tink tink tink tink

          • Tassiebush

            Puerile humour aside that would be nifty!

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      She’s a lot of fun.

  • Grant

    I live in IL and I wish I could buy a supressor.

    • Juggernaut

      Trump getting the HPA done or doing anything else about gun laws is BS- just like everything out of his fat mouth.

      • Sam Ruez

        Juggernaut – an object that crushes whatever is in its path. I guess a silencer wouldn’t do much for you. Neither does your big fat mouth.

      • Jason Lewis

        Don’t bad mouth our God Emperor.

      • valorius

        You’re an idiot.

        • DonDrapersAcidTrip

          You regularly post some of the most boneheaded comments of any gun forum and that’s saying something

          • David Harmon

            He does the same on other sites as well. Uses the same name too.

          • valorius

            you’re an idiot.

          • DonDrapersAcidTrip

            you’re a bootlicking stooge

        • iksnilol

          Not in this case, he does have a point.

          • valorius

            youre an idiot too.

      • James Young

        It’s not a priority for him, but if congress sends a bill his way he will sign it. That’s what people are hoping for. It is a reasonable expectation, several congressmen already put together the bill. The problem is no one had any clue when they will pass it

        • pun&gun

          I don’t think the (R)s have a sufficient majority to pass the thing. They’d need some (D)s to provide cross-party support, and the way they’ve been circling the wagons lately, I doubt you’ll see any of them step outside the party line for a while.

      • Chris

        We got Gorsuch on the Supreme Court …Heck of a great start to any one not as butthurt as you seem to be !

    • datimes

      I used to live in IL too Grant. I wised up, moved south, and purchased two machine guns, two SBR’s, and a suppressor. Get out. It is an utterly corrupt State run by career criminals in a continuing billion dollar a year crime spree.

      • Sam Ruez

        The Same applies to New Jersey. My wife calls it the Nazi state.

        • WANDERLUST srt

          Ah yes “The Garden State”. I had the pleasure of living in the concrete garden for 3 years also. Having said that the people really were pretty nice but that was south jersey. The no pumping gas thing got old fast so I used to hop out and start pumping.

          • Sam Ruez

            WHAT STATE ARE YOU IN NOW IF i MAY ASK?

          • WANDERLUST srt

            PA but in june i will have relocated to Alabama

      • L Cavendish

        so you have lots of cash…no cheap machine guns out there…
        not legal ones anyway…LOL
        $200 each for stamp…and a 6-9 MONTH wait…RIDICULOUS
        and the same wait period if you have had stamps previously…INSANE

        • datimes

          I sold my home when I moved to FL and was able to purchase a newer larger home with a considerable sum remaining. I splurged and purchased firearms I’ve always wanted. The wait and stamps are part of the Feds game. Enjoy the sanity of your collection and I shall enjoy the insanity of mine.

  • Arturo Suarez

    Another great article, Pete. Sadly though, it’s my financial situation that keeps me from going crazy online or at my LGS buying all the cans. Budgeting and saving my pennies is a long process. I do want a TM Wasp for a PPK though. It might be my next purchase.

    • Gordon Couger

      If silencers become just another gun accessory the price of them will fall drastically as I don’t believe you a FFL to make them any more than you need to have one to make a wrench to fit a muzzle brake.

      • iksnilol

        Realistically if it passes, you can expect a decent/good one to cost about 300 dollars for centerfires.

        • Beju

          That with a VAT factored in?

          • iksnilol

            I guess.

        • Stuki Moi

          You’re equating “decent/good” with “Surefire Grade.” The Chinese will build 95+% copies at $99.99 tops.

          • L Cavendish

            like Chinese ammo…they will be banned…

        • James Young

          Is that how much they go for in Europe?

          • iksnilol

            In countries that have legalized them, yeah, bottom tier is about the equvialent of 300 USD.

            There are some more expensive ones but those are usually “tactical” or titanium (3d printed in some cases).

          • L Cavendish

            cool…titanium is good for heat…but actually scratches easily
            tungsten carbide would be awesome…

  • Supadiek

    I would like a silencer, but $1k for ten dollars worth of metal will always be bullshit. Screw the silencer industry.

    • The industry overall certainly does seem to be using Ron Jeremy Justification for their price points.

    • ARCNA442

      How much is the metal in your guns worth?

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      That’s wrong on so many levels.

      • Juggernaut

        Silencers are ridiculously easy to make for a decent machinist.

        • iksnilol

          Well, Hi-points are also ridiculously easy to make for decent machinists. Yet nobody minds paying 400-500 for a handgun.

          • Paul White

            Centerfire silencers seem to start at high 500s/low 600s here in the states, and that’s before the 200 dollar tax stamp.

          • iksnilol

            That’s about what a good silencer costs here in Norway.

            Something like an Ase Utra (good quality, + QD) or a Tronrud (3d printed titanium can, short, quiet, light).

          • L Cavendish

            792,282 in February 2015- in all the USA—for 300-400M guns there are /were under 1M legal silencers

          • L Cavendish

            ramped up production should reduce costs…and there could be the competition factor as well…

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          Having made a few of my own, I know how “easy” it is. But if you want proven designs that will last, aren’t overly heavy, suppress better and look good, go with a commercial can.

          Especially true for first time buyers.

          • Stuki Moi

            …..And can take fairly sustained fire….

            Making those three shots/season taken out of a deer blind a bit more tolerable, doesn’t take much at all.

            At the range, you’ll need hearing protection anyways, as long as you’re not alone. Or shooting with your local supressor club. But in the woods, it’s kind of nice to be able to roam around “naked” without risking tinnitus.

        • rdsii64

          Its a tube with a few baffles in it. You don’t even have to be a decent machinist. Any body who can use power tools without hurting themselves can take one of these cheap bench top mini mills and a bench top mini lathe and make a functional silencer. The directions can be found with a simple google search. If you actually have some decent machining skills you can make stuff that rivals what you can buy.

    • st381183

      It’s not the metal, it’s the machining, the science, and the warranty. The guns you own only have a few dollars of steel and/or polymer. You sound uninformed. If you don’t want one that’s fine, but don’t be a Fudd and fight those of us who are willing to purchase and enjoy silencers.

    • Bradley

      Just because it’s an exaggeration doesn’t mean it’s wrong. Obviously higher quality, better materials, and advanced designs cost more. They are still a relatively simple device. It’s absurd to pretend the regulation doesn’t inflate the price at all. Just the requirement for the SOT to manufacture is going to cause higher cost and less people willing to compete in the market.

    • datimes

      I used to think the same thing until I purchased one and realized how precisely a suppressor is manufactured.

  • adverse4

    Not going to lose any sleep over it.

  • Charles

    All my extra (hah!) funds as of late have been going into modifying barrels and purchasing over-priced adapters & tools/guages for incorporating my existing group of suppressors.
    When/if the HPA does pass, the turn-around time and waiting list for service by talented machinists/gunsmiths will be the problem facing new suppressor owners.

  • Keiichi

    Great article Pete.

    Being entirely honest, I’m not a suppressor customer in the current climate (for reasons discussed in my prior comments).

    I might have been a customer before ATF 41F, but now that option is gone. IMO the industry was relying very heavily on that “loophole”, and many past and potential buyers share my reluctance to offer the gov’t pictures and fingerprints. I believe that the implementation of that rule has done far more to diminish demand than the potential of the HPA.

    One could posit that the current slump in the suppressor industry is a market correction following the closure of a regulatory loophole, regardless of the HPA entirely.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      It’s my fault for not reviewing/showing you a silencer you can’t live without. When that day comes, you’ll gladly roll your own prints, take a few pics and send in your $200. I promise.

      • Keiichi

        In any case I’ll continue to enjoy reading your posts. Keep up the great work, Pete.

      • Bradley

        No I will not. There are plenty I would love to have. I refuse to do it. It is just too far on the other side of my personal line.

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          I don’t understand this reasoning, but I respect your decision.

      • Paul White

        Nah. With silencers ranging (for centerfires) from apparently like 600ish on up, plus a 200 dollar stamp, they’re just more than I’m willing to spend, period.

        Now if the HPA ever does pass, and that 200 stamp goes away and they get a little cheaper (even by just 200-300 bucks) that brings in the range of what I’m open to paying.

    • st381183

      If you use a cell phone, credit card, were in the military, arrested, use a computer, bought a gun with a 4473, pay taxes, or breath in the USA, the Gov’ment already has plenty of info on you. What difference does providing a photo or fingerprint card matter.
      You are a fool to think the gov’ment doesn’t already know who you are or what your about. Merely being on this website to post a comment allows google to target you with advertisements or identify you as a card carrying gun nut should you ever be involved in a controversial situation involving firearms. The excuse of not wanting to give the government information is a sad one because the government already has that information.

      • Keiichi

        What’s sad is how many people are willing to accept, even encourage, retention of personal info by the federal government. It’s wrong.

        I tolerate it when I don’t have a choice as a law abiding member of our society (i.e. taxes) or when I can’t reasonably have control over how they get the info (i.e. online monitoring). When I know from the terms of applicable law that purchasing a luxury like a silence will result in such info retained by the federal government, and I must volunteer the info, I cannot on principle make the purchase.

        It’s not about fear, and it doesn’t matter how much info they already have. It’s about what’s right an what’s wrong.

        • st381183

          You are right. You are standing up for your rights and I applaud you……Of course I have several silencers that I get to enjoy and you don’t. I have several SBRs to enjoy and you don’t. I am helping to make these items main stream to forward the argument that law abiding gun owners use these tools for everyday enjoyment.

          • Mystick

            You don’t buck the system by participating in it.

      • Bradley

        Being spied on and voluntarily participating in the violation of your privacy are two completely different things. It is about principle not practicality.

    • Stephen Paraski

      Been to Dr. lately? They have your DNA. Feds have your SS number. DHS has your E Mail and your Bank Accounts if they are in US (and if they are in Cayman Islands you are more likely than not, on a special list). Big Brother is here, Government knows your spending habits online. You Are being watched.

      • Bill

        And the government barely cares about 99.999999999999999999% of the information they do collect. And they’ll screw up handling that remaining 0.0000000000000000000001%

  • I hate to say I told you so, but I’m a terrible liar, because I’m actually quite gleeful when I say I told you so. The abject lack of movement here was 100% predictable.

    I haven’t seen wishful thinking on the scale of ZOMG HPA PDQ!!! since Obama first took office and the Ds thought he was going to get anything whatsoever done.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Can’t say I blame anyone. It must feel like being let out of prison and think you are going to change the world.

    • James Young

      That’s more because Obama never tried hard. He had no idea how to get things done or work with people he disagreed with. We can count on one hand his signature accomplishments and they all happened in the first two years in office when he had 60 Democrat votes in the Senate

      • Between Franken fighting a partisan recall vote and Kennedy finally going back for Mary Jo Kopechne, Obama never actually had 60 votes in the Senate, and he only had a filibuster-proof majority of the remaining for a combined total of 71 days.

        How much has Trump accomplished in his first 70+ days with unassailable control of the Senate and House? The Republicans are no better than the Democrats, they spent seven years screaming at the top of their lungs about repealing Obamacare, and whoops!, they can’t even do that.

      • iksnilol

        I dunno, I’d say he did do a lion’s effort considering how much Congress blocked him.

        • James Young

          Congress blocked his agenda because he wouldn’t budge on any of it. He never said, “Let me give you something, and I’ll get my bill passed.” He basically said, this is what I want, do it. Then when he didn’t get what he wanted he said they aren’t letting him do what he wants. You could flip it and say why didn’t he sign all the bills Republicans passed and sent to him.

  • Ark

    HPA is a pipe dream. Nobody with the slightest understanding of the current state of Congress actually thinks it has a shot at passing. There are no votes to be won by passing it, and nobody is offering enough campaign money to get it moving.

    • neckbone

      I don’t know, but the republicans told us they needed both houses and the whitehouse to pass pro gun bills. Now they got it like they’ve never had it. If they don’t pass this by the mid terms. I know a lot of people that will finally say there is no difference between the 2 parties. Most of us have been saying that though. The hpa has to be a litmus test. I think they are using it to get us to vote in 2018. If that’s the case they need to go out with the trash. This is a perfect chance to throw the common sense gun law crap in the faces of the people who are against this.

      • Ark

        What are you going to do, vote Democrat? Gun owners are a captured group.

        • neckbone

          If they can’t get this through for gun owners, they aren’t worthy of our votes. Enough of the lesser of 2 evils for me. This country is in bad shape. Dems won’t pass nothing against us, and republicans won’t pass anything for us. Tired of the games

        • iksnilol

          Third party?

          • Big Burd

            not voting hurts them just as much as voting for the Democrats.

          • neckbone

            Exactly. A few thousand votes in a few districts and we would of had Clinton. We need to use our power smarter. We don’t hold people accountable anymore. I’m glad trump won, but he’s not doing what he said he would.

          • AlanHan

            Gaining deeper broader support for the second amendment among appellate judges is a much higher priority. Trump and the voters have that underway. First things first.

          • Mystick

            No, it’s that politicians no longer fear their constituents. There is no personal accountability, a complete disconnect from reality, and no incentive for them to do what’s right for US.

          • iksnilol

            I meant, what’s wrong with voting for third party? Only reason they can’t get steam is because of everybody thinking they can’t get enough votes and thus vote for the Dems or Reps.

          • James Young

            3rd parties dont usually work in America. Besides, the two parties reflect the America’s ideologies even if the politicians themselves care more about politcal power and money than those ideologies.

          • David Harmon

            So Americans are only concerned about what Syrians and ISIS are doing in the Middle East and how we can help Israel while losing out on the exchange, or who can dress like a woman and go stand in the woman’s room?

            Funny, all this time I though Americans were more concerned about Chinese markets using slave labor to distort the labor market, and illegals suppressing the wages along with how to afford their doctor bills…

          • pun&gun

            Third parties don’t really “work” by winning, they work by acting like parasites to the primary two parties. The Green Party in 2000 is probably the best example; their eco-platform stole Florida from Gore and cost him the election. Come 2004, John Kerry is pushing the eco agenda on his own platform. Third parties punish the bigger ones for not properly catering to their constituents, incentivizing them to do so next go around.

          • James Young

            Ross Perot did the same in 1992 (19% of the vote) and 1996 (8% of the vote). If it wasn’t for him H.W. Bush would have had an easy victory and possibly Dole (I’m not sure how the electoral map would have changed in 1996)

          • Mystick

            Two parties is incredibly insufficient to represent America’s ideologies. The voting system has just been gamed for long enough that that’s the perception.

        • James Young

          I think not voting would be the more likely scenario

      • Mystick

        “there is no difference between the 2 parties.”

        Been saying that for years…

    • James Young

      Didnt they just pass a bill that cut off federal funds for Planned Parenthood? If they can do that without 60 votes in the Senate then they could easily do HPA which has more support, even across party lines

  • B. Young

    What’s that suppressor in the “excuse me while I whip this out” picture above??

    • QuadGMoto

      It’s a rim fire can called The Erector made by Q. The web site is liveqordie.

      • B. Young

        so many suppressor manufacturers out there and I thought I knew most of them…Thanks QGM

        • Pete – TFB Writer

          It’s a game changer for sure.

          • B. Young

            In what way?

  • Meathead

    As soon as I read the part about Hollywood/movies…………you lost me

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      What?

  • Gordon Couger

    If the ATF wants to maximize it’s time on more productive work the laws putting tax stamps on everything but machine guns are at cross purposes with what ATF is supposed to do. The only reason I leave machine guns out of the things that should be available to any citizen that can legally own a gun is all the flack full auto weapons catch from people that don’t realize how ineffective they are in all but very well trained hands that can control the muzzle climb.

    I grew up in a time anyone that could put their money on the counter could buy any gun in the house that wasn’t a NFA weapons. I had no problems in high school buying rifles, pistols or ammo across state line or ordering guns mail order. No one ask for ID all they looked at was the color of your money. Until some though the system was broken when Oswald chose to buy a mail order gun rather than a local gun to kill President Kennedy. Non of the laws passed would have prevented a Oswald from buying a gun in Texas in the 1960’s or in 2017.

    Implementing background checks didn’t change very much about where bad guys bought guns or how the guys that sold to them did business in my part of the world.

    If the whole mess of gun laws and regulations vanished over night there would be very little change in crime or gun sales.

    • Juggernaut

      What about the guns that were actually used to kill JFK?

      • crackedlenses

        Which ones, the ray-guns or the 40 gigawatt phased plasma rifles?

        • David Harmon

          Having trouble seeing clearly?

          • crackedlenses

            Nah, must have been some kind of mind-control tech from Roswell, and they put stuff in the water to make everyone think he was shot.

      • jamezb

        What about it? The craptastic old bolt action Carcano? It was neither suppressed, silenced, nor a machine gun. It was straight-up pre WWI bolt action tech, and a fairly crude example of that. He could have purchased an equivalent surplus rifle at any gun shop with no ID for $20 at the time.

    • Sam Ruez

      I was in Las Vegas where they had store where you could actually shoot machine guns. I tried. I failed. You can’t just pull the trigger and hold it there. This one was an HK MP5. My army buddy taught me how to use it. I’m not telling you how he taught me but pulling the trigger and holding it is NOT the answer.

      • pun&gun

        My only experience with full-auto was a 60-round rental of a Thompson. It was surprisingly hard to keep rounds on a man-sized target after more than three rounds or so.
        I honestly don’t see how machine guns can be that dangerous, given the difficulty of controlling them and the rate at which they eat ammunition. Given how little training mass shooters generally have with their weapons, I’d suspect that casualty counts would drop noticeably if they started using automatics.

      • L Cavendish

        yes you can…if you practice and are prepared…and can fully stabilize the weapon for the few seconds it takes to go through the magazine

  • Jas

    Interestingly, in Europe they just introduced a new EU firearms law. All kinds of extra restrictions and regulations. In the original text silencers were to be declared essential components of firearms, meaning that their possession would be licensed. Halfway the legislative process, however, this part was deleted. Apparently because of pressure from several Member States that have a kind of HPA that is part of labor laws and applies to foresters (and their dogs). So, while the EU has among the strictest gunlaws in the world, they are NOT regulating (on EU level) silencers. Of course most Member States have national laws in place that ban silencers but there are also those where silencers do not require any paperwork at all. And everybody is very happy (even the hunting dogs). One of the counter arguments during the discussion was that guns should make noise so that gunfire can be detected and the police can take action. They even referred the ‘success’ of automatic gunfire locator systems (shotspotter) in American cities.

    • rdsii64

      shot spotter doesn’t work very well.

    • Mystick

      That system also claims, or at least it did on release, that it could detect suppressed fire.

  • Ben Pottinger

    Whine whine whine, people arnt buying silencers by the truckload anymore because there isn’t an overwelming fear of everything being banned (Hilary lost) and because 41F is now in effect. Trusts and no photos/fingerprints are what helped create the big jump in silencer ownership and now it’s “over”. I’ve been buying suppressors since 2006 and among my group of friends who shoot and collect nfa stuff only the two hardcore MG guys are likely to buy anymore silencers in the next 5+ years. The 4-5 new owners I know who bought in before 41F specifically bought every single caliber they wanted right then and have no further plans to buy more. I bought my last can right before 41F and now have one for every caliber I shoot. I won’t be buying another one unless 41F is repealed or the HPA passes. Sorry for what that does to you guy’s business but that’s life I guess. Push to get sane regulations put in place instead of wishing the panic buying wI’ll return.

    The sad reality is the big jump in suppressor companies that happened in the past couple years is going to happen now in reverse. Unless Trump squeezes the ATF to repeal 41F or the HPA passes sales are just going to tank.

    Can congress/senate use the same “rules/regulation” “rollback” thing they did recently to the FCC on the ATF and 41F? Basically they said the FCC was overstepping their regulatory authority by dictating privacy practices to ISPs, and so congress nullified the rule. I don’t see why they couldn’t do the same thing to the ATF 41F. It’s not like they had massive public support for removing peoples privacy protections from cable and cell companies, yet here we stand.

  • DIR911911 .

    suppressor is not a politically correct term , it’s the technically accurate description.

    • Bill

      And “muffler” just doesn’t sound cool enough.

      • Sam Ruez

        how about a forbearance of muteness machine??

        • Russ Kell

          ADD – Anti-deafness device?

          • Tassiebush

            Audio neutralizer utility system?

          • thach1130

            NRA – Noise Reducing Apparatus…oh wait….

    • Bradley

      I think the point is “silencer” was always the term in common use, and a lot of people insist on “supressor” in order to illustrate the point that they don’t make the weapon silent. Suppressor is probably a better term, but hardly anyone used to use it.

      • Sam Ruez

        Give that man a c-gar!!!

      • valorius

        The original item was called a silencer, so the term works just fine for me.

      • AlanHan

        “Silencer” was the term used in the original patent application….

    • milesfortis

      And you are correct.

      However the legal and legally controlling term is silencer.
      Enter the term ‘suppressor’ in a NFA transfer form and nowadays you’ll see it returned -after God knows how long – to be filled in properly, as the law specifies.

      The law doesn’t have to make sense.

      • pun&gun

        The law rarely ever makes sense.

        • milesfortis

          James Clavell once wrote:
          “The law may confound reason, but reason may not confound the law.”

      • supergun

        Are you a black man?

    • TennTexan

      I prefer “gun-shutter-upper.”

  • Bill

    “The first being that positive firearm legislation would be a top priority of the administration.”

    Just like not interfering in foreign problems was a priority, until it wasn’t. (For the record, I think 50 Tomahawks were several hundred too few, and they should have been targeted on Assad’s ballon knot.) T will choose the path of least effort and most personal aggrandizement with any issue. This administration probably cares as little about hearing protection as they care about environmental protection.

    I have no idea if I’ll ever buy a can, though one of my AR pistols literally bellows for it. Then again, adding length and weight to it’s muzzle defeats the reason I got it in the first place.

    • Cymond

      Length, power, sound.
      Choose 2.

      If you want something small & quiet, consider a 9mm SBR with 4.5″ barrel and short suppressor like an Omega 9k.

  • Mikalash47

    Maybe waiting for the HPA to pass is only part of the reason for the drop in sales. Maybe people are getting frustrated with the fact that most cans cost more than the guns they go on. I don’t care about the paperwork or the wait. I care about the justifiably angry look on my wife’s face if she found out I spent $1,000 for a tiny muffler.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      Most silencers cost half that. Plus, I don’t see people complaining about buying $400-$500 match barrels – after all it’s just a metal rod with a hole down the middle.

      But, you do have a point. The problem is volume – the more silencers sold, the more prices will come down. The best way to increase volume is through deregulation, because a large slice of shooters won’t touch silencers until they can walk out the door on the same day of purchase.

      • it’s just Boris

        $500 can. $200 tax stamp.! (Let’s say $25 in local sales taxes. Or a $25 transfer fee if you buy online.)

        We’re already at $750. Now add in the time to get the paperwork completed, and a few visits to the FFL. I can’t speak for anyone else’s situation, but for me, given my hourly wage, the distance to the nearest FFL who handles suppressors, his hours, etc., that time off from work is very easily another $250 out of my pocket.

        So the can might cost $500, but getting the permission to wn and use it doubles it. At least for me.

        • Paul White

          Yeah, the only shop in town that handled silencers went out o business here :/ and good riddance, the guy was awful.

      • Paul White

        And what’s the market for 500 dollar match barrels?

        And while I haven’t hunted around too much, but I haven’t seen centerfire silencers under about $550, at all, and most are more than that.

        • Cymond

          Check out Rebel. They sell an aluminum 30 cal can for $250, and a 9mm can for $200+mount. Or course, they’re not known for being very quiet. The 9mm can is in the upper 130 dBs on a CZ Evo carbine. Some shots were over 140, and they were taken at the shooter’s ear.

          rebelsilencers.com
          https://youtu.be/ySlym5a40R4

          • David Harmon

            Those Al cans are not going to last very long either. Stretched Al really does not like heat cycles. It tends to stretch, warp and crack.

          • Cymond

            I’m not saying they’re​ great, just that inexpensive suppressors do exist.

          • iksnilol

            Huntertown Arms also used to make some inexpensive ones, don’t know if they do anymore.

      • Cymond

        How many shooters buy $500 match barrels?

        • James Young

          Yeah, I was thinking that too. The vast majority of people dont buy match barrels. Just like the majority of people dont buy suppressors

  • it’s just Boris

    I’m in a particularly cynical mood this morning, so I’ll simply point out that blaming customers for the effects of government regulation (or inaction) is a good way to annoy said customer. Even if it’s true it does nothing to help the situation.

    For me, the more I feel blamed for being part of a problem, the less inclined I am to try to be part of a solution. Yes I did write my congressional representatives; no I am not going to buy a suppressor anyway, as I had had no plans to do so.

    • Pete – TFB Writer

      I don’t believe anyone is blaming consumers. It’s an attempt to get people to make informed decisions, not those based on emotions alone.

      But if you had no plans to buy a can, none of this really effects you.

      • it’s just Boris

        Many if not most of the articles I’ve read do blame the consumer population for not buying more suppressors, if only implicitly. Few mention the expansion and furor before the latest ATF regulation change. That to me reads like blaming the consumer, and not taking a share of responsibility for over expansion.

  • TexianPatriot

    While I agree HPA is a long shot, Trump was too, and it happened.

  • supergun

    Why does it take HPA such a long time to decide anything, when the morons in kalipornia can pass an unconstitutional gun law within a month?

    • Stuki Moi

      Because HPA would, like, be constitutional. And, like, dead white males and stuff.

      • supergun

        Sorry, but your comment does not make any sense. Want to give it one more try, and I mean just one more. That is all you get.

        • Stuki Moi

          Nothing involving “kalipornia” makes any sense. No use even trying to make sense of it.

          • supergun

            I agree.

        • milesfortis

          It’s because it’s a Republican bill and by proggie definition, everything Republican is Satanic and Nazi. Plus all Republicans are White, Pot Bellied, Beer Guzzling, Racissss.

          I got it right off.

          • iksnilol

            But by republican definition, everything “proggie” is pot smoking, safe space whining, baby murdering, SJW snowflakes.

            See? That generalization goes both ways.

          • milesfortis

            I didn’t say it didn’t. 🙂
            Politics these days is the art of the polemic.
            The ‘D’ will never vote yes on a ‘R’ bill simply because it’s an ‘R’ bill.
            et vice versa

  • Andrew

    That’s an awful lot of words just to say there has been no change in the law since Trump was elected.

  • Paul R. Laska

    Suppressor v silencer. Use suppressor. It is important to be accurately descriptive, especially when dealing with opposition that has no concept of the realities of how and what they are. Silencer falls into their line of scare tactics – you can’t hear it. The fact is, you can hear it, but it is suppressed to conversational, thus hearing safe, levels. They use entertainment as their standard, we must use reality to establish the facts over the emotional scare tactics.

    • neckbone

      If that’s the case let’s use muffler. Let them think about cars without mufflers cruising through their neighborhoods. They wouldn’t like it.

    • Dan

      You can call it the happy time fuzzy tickle tube and the opposition will still think it’s evil. You will never convince the opposition of anything. Our only real chance is if Obama were to buy a handgun and get his carry license and use it to stop a crime. Then maybe just maybe the opposition will see some merit in firearms.
      They don’t care about truth and facts. Some know the truth some are well aware of the horse crap they put out. They don’t care.

  • Toos

    Just a thought, but while we wait for sensible law that removes mufflers from government control, if it ever happens, how about some roll back on ATF regulations that make wipes a manufacturer replaceable only suppressor part and put 41F back on the shelf so Trusts can be used as they legally were before. That doesn’t take an act of Congress. Perhaps hiring a few more examiners to reduce processing time as well. $200 is a ridiculous tax, but its the time spent waiting and the treating Trusts like they are not Trusts is a problem that they can solv nowe. And in the long run HPA would be great too. Hope it passes. Having judges that follow the Constitution would be great too. A win there last week.

  • 22winmag

    Skip ahead to 2:14 in the video… typical awful AR grip finger position.

    Hell, that would be awful for a handgun, let alone accurate shooting with a rifle.

    Lookup the Strike Industries Finger Bump.

  • Vet for Trump

    I think the best chance for it to pass is after the 2018 elections.
    If the Republicans can get a super majority in the Senate, I believe it will pass.
    The House only needs a simple majority to pass it.
    I’m not in a hurry to build another Form 1 suppressor anyway.
    I only use 2 calibers so far in my rifles, 5.56 and 30 caliber.
    And that includes the .308WIN, the Mosin, the Mauser and soon the Lee Enfield.
    Barrel adapter is all I need for each one.
    (The 30 caliber suppressor is .375″ diameter bore so it can handle the .303 British which is .323″)
    I don’t own a pistol with a threaded barrel.

    • it’s just Boris

      The Republicans have a majority in both houses, and the candidate from that party won the white house.

      If they cannot – or perhaps more accurately will not – do it now, why do you think having an even larger majority will incentivize them?

      Personally, as someone already said, I think this is a good litmus test for the republian party. Right here, right now.

      • Vet for Trump

        AFAIK, it still takes 60 votes in the Senate to pass legislation.
        Correction. Still takes 60 to stop debate on a bill.

      • David Harmon

        I think they failed that test when throwing 59 Tomahawks at an airfield was considered an appropriate response to something that likely never even happened.

  • Bradley

    I’m not an economist, but I think insisting that the HPA has much to do with a drop in sales is a pretty suspect assumption. There have been drastic sales decreases and layoffs across the board in firearms related industries. I have a hard time believing, whether they admit it or not, that most manufacturers want silencers deregulated. I know some are high end products, but even the most basic designs are priced far above what they would be in a normal market. Deregulation would likely put some out of business. I also don’t understand why everyone acts like an extra $200 and having to wait is what most people have a problem with. Don’t get me wrong it isn’t right, but for me it is nothing compared to requiring registration and fingerprints. I absolutely refused to do that. It is one of the most vulgar violations of privacy and property rights allowed in this country. Yes I’m waiting for Deregulation to buy one, and I’ve been doing so long before the HPA was mentioned. I will continue to do so until either I die or they are deregulated. I can’t hold it against anyone else for doing it, but I just can’t.

    • Paul White

      I don’t know about “most” but when you’re talking an item that’s already pricey, tacking on an extra 200 is just kind of that nudge that takes them from “maybe” to not a chance in hell

    • neckbone

      Build yourself a solvent tube. They do the same thing basically. I know quite a few guys that have them and use them on their own private ranges and for hunting. Have never heard or read of anyone getting in trouble. If the worst thing a guy does is use a home built muffler on a gun, your a good guy in my book. The titanium ones with freeze plugs work surprisingly well. Enough that you don’t need plugs for hunting. A 10″ one is about 22 ounces. Not bad for $250 and a 1/2 hour of work.

      • John

        They’re skating on very thin ice.

      • Ben Rogers

        Are you telling people to commit a felony, for which they could go to prison for 10 years to save a $200 tax???? It would insane to take your “advice.”

        Yes, people DO go to prison for for illegal suppressors!

        • neckbone

          No

      • iksnilol

        10 inches and 22 ounces for one suppressor?

        THAT’S OVER 20 CM AND OVER HALF A KILOGRAM, FOR ONE SUPPRESSOR!? At that point you might as well just take off a car muffler and bolt that onto your barrel. Sweet Jesus.

        • Keiichi

          Truer words…

    • Cymond

      That $200 can be a huge factor, depending on the cost of the can itself. It’s an enormous increase on a $300 suppressor.
      The wait is also a giant pain in the butt, especially the first time when you don’t have any suppressors to play with in the meantime.

      Fingerprints and photos only bother me because it’s an extra hassle, and especially because it’s an extra burden on my wife (she’s on the trust, too).

    • James Young

      Suppressors are stupid expensive by themselves. That’s the reason people dont want to buy until after HPA.

      • pun&gun

        They’re stupid expensive *because* of the $200 tax. Any suppressor worth less than $200 isn’t worth making, and because of that per-unit added cost and long wait times, people want something that is *really* good for their money and lasts basically forever. The more expensive the base cost of the suppressor, the more that tax comes out in the wash. Thanks to the tax, no suppressor will ever really be worth its asking price, but the pricier it is, the closer it gets proportionally.

        • Keiichi

          Cost (even inflated by regulation) is only half the issue (if that). Also, cost and turnaround time are remedied by patience and the willingness to save for the expense.

          I firmly believe the more significant issue for many Amaricans is the capture and retention by the Federal Government of personal identifying information tied to the purchase – specifically, tied to the serial number on the “firearm”…

      • L Cavendish

        no reason they should be…it is due to small sales numbers…
        have to get back the R&D dollars in hundreds of units…not thousands or tens of thousands

  • Sam Ruez

    Cut the stupid cartoons and stick to the issues!

  • Clifford Mechels

    A suppressor/silencer makes a handgun much harder to carry, much less conceal, makes many rifles too long for a case (until new longer cases are available). My wife would still say its too loud. HPA would be great for those that want one, but how many really want one. At 63 I still have reasonable hearing, some loss, but don’t need hearing aids according to the VA. I started shooting 22 before I was in school, shotguns at 11.

    I can think of better gun rights battles to fight than for silencers, i.e. a federal law prohibiting banning or restricting any semi automatic rifles/pistols with easily removable magazines or the magazines.

    • iksnilol

      That’s because short/handy suppressors aren’t widespread in the US.

      For some reason Americans like big bulky cans that are twice as long as they should be. A good suppressor should at the very most add 15 cm length (10 cm is ideal). Which is more than tolerable on a hunting rifle with a 46 cm barrel (18 inches).

  • valorius

    I am bout 1000x more interested in national reciprocity, but the HPA would be great too.

  • Joe

    I can’t get on the “Hope and Change” bandwagon. A much better goal would be increasing the paperwork review staff by a hundred employees. Taxation isn’t our problem, timeliness and efficiency are.

  • Sianmink

    I figure the NFA clerks will get through last July’s backlog by the end of this month, then the stamp wait times will plummet to 90 days or less. Lot better than the 250 days or so I waited for the can I bought last May!

    • L Cavendish

      wonder what they actually DO …that takes that long…
      or is it just that they have one person actually working and 7 supervising…?

  • G B

    The reason that I’m not buying anymore cans right now has nothing to do with the HPA, and everything to do with 41F.

  • HM

    This is quite frankly a niche issue that not too many people care about.

  • crackedlenses

    Oh, I don’t know. Plenty of people on the US side claim Israel shot up the USS Liberty intentionally, when a good look at the facts says otherwise. I haven’t really researched the topic, so I’m just having fun.

    So, you are totally correct. Betcha they used captured flying saucers from Area 51 to do the deed.

  • Southpaw89

    After shooting my cousins suppressed Ruger 22/45 I definitely want one, but the money just isn’t there, have to admit I’m in the crowd that’s hoping the HPA will pass and eventually make supressors affordable.

  • Chris Cusack

    For me 41F is the problem. To buy through the trust I now have to ask my wife to get fingerprinted. Not going to happen.